Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Lebanon has made strides over the last year in its efforts to bring down software piracy rate in the country and has dropped out of the list of 20 global nations with the highest piracy rates, according to a new study by Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The independent study conducted by IDC (International Data Corporation), the IT industry’s leading global market research and forecasting firm, showed Lebanon’s piracy rate to have declined from 75 per cent in 2004 to 73 per cent in 2005. Total losses incurred by Lebanon on account of software piracy in 2005 totaled USD 36 million.
“To achieve a two percentage point reduction even as the global piracy rate has remained unchanged is indeed creditable,” said Aly Harakeh, official spokesperson of BSA in Lebanon. “The drop in Lebanon’s piracy level was a result of a government commitment to protect IP rights as well as a concerted effort with the industry to increase awareness and introduce special plans to reduce the cost of hardware and software acquisition for businesses and individuals.”
“The true wealth of Lebanon is in its creative and inventive human resources. Throughout history, Lebanese artists, scientists and philosophers have made important contributions in their fields, and therefore it is essential to join hands with various organisations and bodies to combat all aspects of piracy, which tarnishes the image of Lebanon and pushes the Lebanese youth to migrate to destinations where respect of intellectual property and its contribution to the welfare of the society is appreciated,” said Sami Haddad, Lebanon’s Minister of Economy and Trade.
“Although the progress made has been impressive, in light of the turbulent year that was 2005, it is imperative that the local enforcement authorities maintain the enforcement momentum and step up their campaign to protect IP rights, especially that all the elements are now in place with the creation of a special police unit to assist in the fight against intellectual property theft,” Harakeh added.
Lebanon’s piracy level is still way above the global average of 35 per cent as well as the Middle East average of 57 per cent. According to the BSA study, global losses from software piracy amounted to USD 34 billion in 2005, an increase of USD 1.6 billion over the previous year. The countries with the largest percentage point drop in piracy rate during the past year were Ukraine with 6 points, and China, Russia and Morocco with 4 points each.
Robert Holleyman, BSA President and CEO, commented, “The progress made in reducing software piracy in several emerging markets is encouraging. However, more than one out of every three copies of PC software put into use in 2005 was still obtained illegally, meaning much more needs to be done to tackle software piracy around the world.”